1973 Pontiac GTO Review

Mar 30, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

The 1973 Pontiac GTO remains a classic car that attracts enthusiasts across the country. The GTO was one of the “Colonnades,” intermediate A-body vehicles made between 1973 and 1977 named for the structure of pillars connected to the steel roof. This brief period produced few performance vehicles and, even among the other Colonnades, the 1973 Pontiac GTO stands out and is incredibly rare. In fact, there were only 4,806 of these vehicles produced, and when you factor in the passing of time, that means it can be nearly impossible to get your hands on one today.

Exterior Styling


Ultimate GTO

The 1973 Pontiac GTO was a comprehensive package for the Pontiac Le Mans Coupe or Le Mans Sports Coupe with bold lines, sloped rear, and a prominent chrome bumper. Today, most of the 1973 Pontiac GTOs you will find are two-door Sport Coupes, referred to as F37s. This model has a series of louvered vertical slats over the rear quarter windows while there are fewer than 500 slat-less two-door coupes, known as D37s. The inner fender panels and rear quarters are both prone to rusting, making it challenging to find a well-preserved model today. Luckily, the rust on the rear window associated with other similar models wasn’t a problem with the GTO thanks to its sharply sloped rear.

Interior Styling

The interior of the 1973 Pontiac GTO is very similar to other Colonnades, including numerous pieces you will also find on the Le Mans. You will also notice the seatbacks from the 1973 Firebird and the same door hinges on the Firebird and Camaros. While that means the interior isn’t unique, it does let collectors easily find parts for their GTOs, making the interior easier to refurbish.

Under The Hood


Chad Horwedel / flickr.com

In 1973 there was one of two different V8 engines under the hood. The base model was a 400-cubic inch L78, and generated 230 horsepower. Out of all the Pontiac GTOs produced, only 544 had the optional 455-cubic inch L75 engine with a D-port, giving drivers 250 horsepower. The first engine came with a 3-speed or Muncie 4-speed full synchromesh transmission or an optional Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic. The more powerful engine was paired with the 3-speed automatic. Because of increased restrictions on emissions, Pontiac revised the camshaft profiles and lowered the compression ratios for the 1973 model year. The GTO engines came with an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve to return exhaust gases to the combustion chambers as a way to minimize nitrogen oxides without compromising performane. The 1973 GTO also had two NACA ducts in the hood. These ducts were first found on planes to help draw in air without generating turbulence or resistance.

Restoration

If you are a collector who wants to bring your 1973 Pontiac GTO back to its original appearance and performance, you will have a few options. There aren’t a great deal of aftermarket parts because of the low production numbers. But it’s still possible to find enough to restore a 1973 Pontiac GTO to working condition. This is largely thanks to the shared parts with other Colonnades. While not as popular as its predecessor, the 1973 Pontiac GTO remains an interesting addition to any collection.

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